The Ice Maiden part The ice maiden Andersen's fairy tale

Spring has unfolded her fresh green garlands of walnut and chestnut trees which burst into bloom, especially in the country extending from the bridge at St. Maurice to Lake Geneva and along the banks of the Rhone. With wild speed the river rushes from its sources beneath the green glaciers - the Ice Palace, home of the Ice Maiden, from where she allows herself to be carried on the biting wind up to the highest fields of snow, there to recline on their drifting masses in the warm sunshine. Here she sat and gazed down into the deep valleys below where she could see human beings busily bustling about, like ants on a sunlit stone.

" 'Mental giants,' the children of the sun call you," said the Ice Maiden. "You are only vermin! One rolling snowball, and your houses and villages are crushed, wiped out!" Then she raised her proud head still higher, and stared with death-threatening eyes about and below her. Then from the valley there arose a strange sound; it was the blasting of rocks - the labors of men - the building of roadbeds and tunnels for the coming of the railroad.

"They work like moles," she said, "digging passages in the rocks, and therefore are heard these sounds like the reports of guns. If I move my palaces, the noise is stronger than the roar of thunder itself."

Then up from the valley there arose thick smoke - moving forward like a fluttering veil, a waving plume - from the locomotive which on the new railway was drawing a train, carriage linked to carriage, looking like a winding serpent. It shot past with the speed of an arrow.

"They think they're the masters down there, these 'mental giants!'" said the Ice Maiden. "But the powers of nature are still the real rulers!"

And she laughed and sang, and it made the valley tremble.

"It's an avalanche!" the people down there said.

But the children of the sun sang still more loudly of the power of mankind's thought. It commands all, it yokes the wide ocean, levels mountains, fills valleys; the power of thought makes mankind lord over the powers of nature.

At that moment a party of climbers crossed the snow field where the Ice Maiden sat; they had roped themselves together, to form one large body on the slippery ice, near the deep abyss.

"Vermin! she said. "You the lords of the powers of nature!" And she turned from them and gazed scornfully into the deep valley, where the railway train was rushing along.

"There they sit, those thoughts! But they are in the power of nature's force. I see every one of them! One sits alone like a king, others sit in a group, and half of them are asleep! And when the steam dragon stops, they climb out and go their way. Then the thoughts go out into the world!" And she laughed.

"There's another avalanche!" said the people in the valley.

"It won't reach us!" said two who sat together in the train - "two minds with but a single thought," as we say. They were Rudy and Babette, and the miller was going with them.

"Like baggage," he said. "I'm along with them as sort of extra baggage!"

"There sit those two!" said the Ice Maiden. "Many a chamois have I crushed, millions of Alpine flowers have I snapped and broken, leaving no root behind - I destroy them all! Thoughts! 'Mental giants,' indeed!" Again she laughed.

"That's another avalanche!" said those down in the valley.

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